Club explores film mediums

Ben Glick

Film is a relatively recent medium that was invented at the end of the 19th century and developed throughout the 20th century into what we know today. Today’s culture is predominantly familiar with film’s commercial purposes, such as modern cinema, television and advertising.

But Grand Valley State University’s Experimental Film Club wants to expose students to something a little more profound. The club is comprised of students who strive to discover the intricacies of film.

“Whereas commercial film has a standard narrative structure, we want to look at the medium itself,” said James Christie, vice president of the club. “(The) Experimental Film Club is committed to communication of students to alternative forms of cinema.”

The Experimental Film Club meets every other Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Calder Art Center in Room 1311. The club was founded late last year and has recently reorganized into its current form. Officers work to educate the members through several exercises.

The club provides many projects for its members, including using camera-less animation to imprint animated objects on film and a form of film art called zoetropes, which is akin to flip-book animation.

Christie and the other members of the club also present demonstrations to students, who then apply this knowledge to projects of their own.

“We want to equip all Grand Valley State University students with resources and knowledge for their own pursuits of experimental film production and critique,” said Christie, quoting the club’s mission statement.

The club hopes to attract students of all disciplines and experience levels to create and explore the medium of film.

In the future, members hope to organize a film festival for student-created work. Other possible events include a trip to the Ann Arbor Film Festival—the oldest experimental film festival in North America.

Despite of the medium’s dependence on technical familiarity, Christie maintains that beginners will have no problem. “You don’t have to be a film major to do this,” he said. “And you don’t need much knowledge in the field to start.”

Besides technical instruction, the club also holds small lectures covering the history of experimental film as well as analysis of the student films to improve members’ skills.

“It’s relatively easy to get into—you don’t need to know any film history to get more out of it,” Christie said.

Above all, club leadership wants to spread the appreciation for the art form and create an environment where members can enjoy film with others.

“Basically, we really like what we do, and we want to share what we enjoy with other people,” Christie said.

For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page or Orgsync account.